USA Greco

Brackett, Black, Adams, & Khosravy Lead U20 Trials Winners

joel adams, 2024 world team trials
Joel Adams -- Photo: Richard Immel

The 2024 USA U20 World Team will feature a mix of athletes who have prior experience competing against top-level international opponents and several others who will try to take advantage of such an opportunity for the very first time.

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The final round of the 2024 US U20 World Team Trials began at 4:00pm local time from the SPIRE Academy in Geneva, Ohio and streamed live on FLOWrestling.

U20 Finals Overview

Land, Adams, & Attao Return to World Stage

The United States will bring three proven commodities to the U20 World Championships later in the summer as Cory Land (60 kg, Panther WC RTC), Joel Adams (67 kg, TBW), and Aden Attao (130 kg, Beaver Dam RTC) each won their respective finals. And all three were not only recent National champs in this age division, which had awarded the trio byes to Friday’s final round, but they had also earned World medals previously. Land was a U17 World runner-up in ’21, Adams dominated to a U17 World crown in ’22, and that same year Attao came away with an impressive World bronze on the U20 level.

At 60 kilograms, Land faced Elijah Cortez (Daniel Cormier WC) and prevailed in two straight bouts via technical fall. Land was superb back in April and, even with folkstyle concerns part of his agenda, had once again showcased a natural inclination for Greco scores. That continued on Friday against the talented Cortez.

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Two weight classes north, Adams went toe-to-toe with the very-promising Colton Parduhn (IGA). It was a rematch of sorts; Adams and Parduhn had initially clashed in the semifinal of the Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier in April. That match went to Adams by way of 6-1 decision. On Friday, there was not much of a deviation. Although Parduhn had performed quite strongly in the challenge bracket, Adams retained the same tactical advantages which had benefited him in their prior contest and went on to edge Parduhn 3-1 in the first match before creating a little more distance (7-1) in the second.

Hayden Simpson (Cowboy RTC) demonstrated plenty of ability in making the National finals in late-April, but was still found wanting against the much more experienced Attao. On Friday, Simpson — who is a Division I NCAA competitor for Oklahoma State University — enjoyed only one match in the challenge bracket, which was a points-happy tech at the expense of Cameron Geuther (Panther WC RTC). Whether or not that provided an adequate warm-up preceding his best-of-three series opposite Attao, the latter rendered that bit of recent history inconsequential. Simpson did brandish a healthy fighting attitude throughout Match 1 but was still eventually overwhelmed late in the second period to the tune of a 9-0 VSU for Attao. The ’22 U20 World bronze was able to optimize his attacks even more in Match 2 and disposed of Simpson 10-0.

Black Wins Crowded 63; Brackett Is Unofficial OW

Leading up to the tournament, one of the main stories was 63 kilograms, where ’23 U20 World Team member Landon Drury (NYAC/Betterman Elite) and Otto Black (CTT) had been, and were once again on, a collision course. In last year’s tournament, Drury defeated Black in exciting fashion — and just over a month ago, Black achieved a measure of revenge en-route to gaining the National title in this weight class along with a bye to Friday’s final round. Thus, the anticipation was that Drury — who recently committed to attend Northern Michigan University next year — would fight his way back to another showdown against Black, with the only difference being that, this time, the tandem would have a three-match series available to aid them in figuring out their differences.

Then in stepped one Kaden Ercanbrack (NMU/NTS) to spoil Drury’s plans.

Ercanbrack and Drury — future teammates, it would seem — met in the semifinal with Ercanbrack scoring a takedown and following-up with two gutwrenches to race ahead 6-0. The score remained the same throughout the second period, with neither wrestler being called for passive. Drury did earn a step-out point shortly prior to the bout’s conclusion, but Ercanbrack struggled not in garnering the victory 6-1.

Meanwhile, yet two more prized-prospects operated on the bottom side of the bracket — Amryn Nutter (Combat WC) and Rhett Koenig (Minnesota Storm). Nutter downed Koenig via 12-3 VSU and proceeded to defeat Ercanbrack in the challenge final. Ercanbrack had just received the bout’s first passivity/par terre chance and locked for a gutwrench; Nutter stepped over and caught Ercanbrack on his back to emerge victorious by way of fall.

All of it, of course, led to Black, who was very well-prepared for whoever might stand across from him. In Match 1, Black defeated Nutter 9-0 and closed the show in Match 2 with a pin.

The sport’s sanctioning body in the US did not name for this tournament an Outstanding Wrestler. If they had done so, the (very easy) pick would have been Patrick Brackett (Mile High Wrestling Academy), who won the 72 kg World Team spot — this after not placing at the April Nationals. Brackett went 1-2 in Vegas, and just last week fell short at the Colorado state championships that is responsible for Fargo roster selection.

Less than a week later he became a World Team member.

Whatever adjustments Brackett needed to make, he clearly made them, having seized upon the unique opportunity which lied before him. Brackett’s first step was defeating #2 seed Braden Stauffenberg Michigan WC); in the semifinal, he got past Aliaksandr Kikiniou (CA); and in the challenge final, Brackett handed Antoniak a 10-8 decision loss.

One more obstacle remained — ’23 Fargo champ and ’24 U20 National winner Brett Back (Dubuque RTC). A rough match-up, to be sure, as Back had defeated Brackett twice previously. The script flipped in Geneva. Brackett took Match 1, in large part due to a four-point lift from par terre. In Match 2, Brackett trailed Back 7-0 late in the first period when the complexion of the contest abruptly changed. Back was in the process of trying to crank the points necessary to end the bout prematurely, but Brackett stepped over the ensuing gut attempt to net two points; Brackett proceeded to execute a four-point lift off the edge, after which Back crashed into the scoring table.

Following a step-out point soon into the second period, the score was 7-7 with Back owning criteria. Neither was giving an inch in the hand-fight and the officials were pocketing the passives. With less than :30 on the clock, Brackett bodied a takedown to go up 9-7. At the buzzer, he landed on top of a last-gasp attempt from Back and received an inconsequential caution point. In one of the more memorable runs to a US age-group World Team spot in recent memory, Brackett had summited the domestic mountaintop by defeating every major name available in his weight category.

Arian Khosravy, Rix-McElhinney, & Rogotzke Make WT

Arian Khosravy (CA) — brother of two-time Cadet World Teamer Arvin — is staring at the opportunity to introduce himself to World-level competition following his two-match victory over Nick Fox (Panther WC RTC) in the 82 kg finals series. Khosravy capitalized on par terre top in the first period of Match 1 with a four-pointer and added another in the second period to seal a 10-1 VSU. In Match 2, Khosravy’s lift from PT was good for five in what became an 8-0 series-clinching technical fall.

Gifted young standout Aydin Rix-McElhinney (77 kg, Northern Colorado WC) will likewise receive his first chance to compete in a World tournament after taking the first two matches of his best-of-three final against Bradley Gillum (Southern Illinois RTC). McElhinney — who was one of eight U20 National champs to finish the job in Ohio — defeated Gillum 8-0 in both bouts. McElhinney placed 5th at the Senior Nationals in December but had just missed out on qualifying for the Olympic Trials due to a procedural stipulation.

Former Minnesota age-group competitor and current Ohio State University student Ryder Rogotzke captured the World Team spot at 87 kilograms. Rogotzke was not a player in the April Nationals and therefore was unseeded in Friday’s tournament. That hardly mattered. Rogotzke cruised past both Lars Michelson (NWWC) and Payton Thomas (Navy WC) before sweeping National champ Nick Nosler (Southern Illinois RTC) in the finals series.

Cortez & Herzog Highlights

The sport’s lightest weight class featured the stylings of Isaiah Cortez (55 kg, Daniel Cormier WC), who in April had engineered a sparkling performance that got him the bye to Friday’s finals — at which time he displayed more of the can’t-miss ability that could propel him to a potential World medal. Credit is due to his opponent, David Motyka (X-Calibur), for Motyka placed 7th in April but turned up the intensity on Friday by delivering a pair of gritty, thrilling wins over the likes of two ’23 World Team members — Zach Silvis (PINnacle, ’23 U20 WT) and Ezekiel Witt (Manhattan RTC, ’23 U17 WT). But Cortez was simply on fire from the outset against Motyka and rung up a 9-0 VSU in Match 1 as well as win via fall in Match 2.

In April, Soren Herzog (97 kg, Air Force RTC) defeated Soren Pirhoun (Riverside) to win the Nationals. Pirhoun rebounded accordingly on Friday. He had but only one opponent in the challenge tournament, who was Max Ramberg (Viking RTC), but it was a solid 6-2 decision win and one upon which he looked to build momentum. The setting was in place for a three-round battle, and Pirhoun made noise right away in the first period against Herzog by uncorking a four-point headlock. But, Herzog was already amid a reversal after impacting the surface and the score was 4-1 for Pirhoun when they reset. Herzog soon used an over/under bodylock to snare a 5-4 lead and would eventually win Match 1 by decision, 8-5. Unfortunately, Pirhoun had apparently injured his right leg/ankle towards the end of their first round bout, and that injury would become responsible for Pirhoun being unable to come out for Match 2, resulting in Herzog winning by default.

2024 U20 WTT Notes

  • As mentioned, U20 National Champions from April received byes to Friday’s best-of-three Trials finals. Eight successfully navigated their respective series.
  • None of the 10 finals series required a third and decisive match. One series (at 97 kg between Herzog and Pirhoun) contested only one match.
  • 14 of the 19 finals matches contested ended via stoppage (10 technical falls, 4 pins).

2024 U20 World Team Trials

May 31 — Geneva, OH


55 kg

Isaiah Cortez (Daniel Cormier WC) def. David Motyka (X-Calibur Athletics WC) 2 matches to 0

Match 1: Cortez def. Motyka 9-0, TF
Match 2: Cortez def. Motyka via fall

60 kg

Cory Land (Panther WC RTC) def. Elijah Cortez (Daniel Cormier WC) 2 matches to 0

Match 1: Land def. Cortez 10-2, TF
Match 2:
 Land def. Cortez 8-0, TF

63 kg 

Otto Black (CTT) def. Amryn Nutter (Combat WC) 2 matches to 0

Match 1: Black def. Nutter 9-0, TF
Match 2: Black def. Nutter via fall

67 kg

Joel Adams (TBW) def. Colton Parduhn (IGA) 2 matches to 0

Match 1: Adams def. Parduhn 3-1
Match 2: Adams def. Parduhn 7-1

72 kg

Patrick Brackett (Mile High Wrestling Academy) def. Brett Back (Dubuque RTC) 2 matches to 0

Match 1: Brackett def. Back 5-2
Match 2: Brackett def. Back 10-7

77 kg

Aydin Rix-McElhinney (Northern Colorado WC) def. Bradley Gillum (Southern Illinois RTC) 2 matches to 0

Match 1: Rix-McElhinney def. Gillum 8-0, TF
Match 2: Rix-McElhinney def. Gillum via fall

82 kg

Arian Khosravy (CA) def. Nick Fox (Panther WC RTC) 2 matches to 0

Match 1: Khosravy def. Fox 10-1, TF
Match 2: Khosravy def. Fox 8-0, TF

87 kg

Ryder Rogotzke (Ohio RTC) def. Nick Nosler (Southern Illinois RTC) 2 matches to 0

Match 1: Rogotzke def. Nosler via fall
Match 2: Rogotzke def. Nosler 9-0, TF

97 kg

Soren Herzog (Air Force RTC) def. Soren Pirhoun (Riverside) 2 matches to 0

Match 1: Herzog def. Pirhoun 8-5
Match 2: Herzog def. Pirhoun via injury default

130 kg

Aden Attao (Beaver Dam RTC) def. Hayden Simpson (Cowboy RTC) 2 matches to 0

Match 1: Attao def. Simpson 9-0, TF
Match 2: Attao def. Simpson 10-0, TF

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